Skills shortage – will KPMG layoffs help you?

By Jenny Lukas, AVN Director and Practice Growth Expert

What does the news that KPMG is cutting 200 jobs in the UK mean for the accountancy skills shortage?

It’s not the only one to make redundancies. In the last 18 months, across all of the Big 4, more than 9,000 employees have been let go via several rounds of layoffs in the UK, US, Australia and Canada.

Reports (and disgruntled former employees) suggest that the people in the firing line have one to five years’ experience, rather than those nearer the top of the tree with big salaries.

So could this be a benefit for smaller practices? Or will it mean more competition?

A boost to combat the skills shortage

With qualified, experienced accountants coming to the market, this could have an impact on the skills shortage that’s been a headache for so long. And, judging by some of the comments on sites like Reddit, many of these accountants feel very let down and may be looking for an employer who has a more personal approach.

The key is to make your firm look attractive to these potential new team members. You may not be able to offer the high salary they’ve been used to but you can probably offer a much better work-life balance. Working long hours is very much the norm at the Big 4 so highlight the advantages of working for you.

What makes your firm a great place to work? Do you do team activities together? Have a mentoring system? Offer development opportunities to progress their career? Are you driven by an overriding purpose beyond making money?

All of these elements are likely to appeal to someone who is feeling unappreciated and bruised by the redundancy process.

Will the layoffs mean more competition?

The other possibility is that some of these accountants will decide they’ve had enough of working for someone else and it’s time to set up on their own.

This could mean that a whole new crop of start-up firms appears, selling their services cheaply to launch themselves into the market. Will their Big 4 experience impress potential clients? Or is it irrelevant to smaller business owners who just want their accountant to understand their business and their challenges?

If you do see a rise in competition, try not to get drawn into a price cutting war. Focus on the value you provide to your clients, not how much your services cost. What are the benefits for a business owner of working with you? How do you support their business to grow or be more profitable? Which client testimonials can you use to demonstrate your expertise?

Want more tips on making your accountancy practice the go-to for both prospects and new team members? Take a look at The Accountants KnowHow Club.

It’s full of insights, advice and fresh ideas from industry experts and accountants in practice, all aimed at making your practice more profitable, more efficient and more enjoyable to run.

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